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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Poets on Poetry - Friday morning - Billy Collins

Billy Collins took the Main Stage next on Friday at the Dodge Poetry Festival .
He admitted that he does not collect knick-knacks. He does collect definitions of poetry. He does not give plastic monkeys for Christmas, so they can be put with other monkeys, in the monkey room. He got a big laugh as he said this (better than I am retelling it).
Dante - Poetry is about "things that are true with words that are beautiful"
However, the yellow pages is full of entries on "beauty" but has no entries on "Truth"
Hardy - emotions set to measure
Coleridge - best words in best order
Rukesyser - meaning that moves
Auden - clear expression of mixed feelings
Macleash - the synthesis of chrysanthemums and biscuits
poetry is what happens when prose is exhausted
"Baby listening"
"summer houses"
"Little myth"
"I ask you"
"The long day"
does not like the question, what is the poet trying to say, it implies that they failed to say what they wanted to, but they did say what they wanted, generally, we just need to understand it
From Poetry 180
  • by Mark Halliday "The Current"
  • by Tom Wyman "Did I miss anything"
Billy was the first one to acknowledge the boom camera. They are video taping each poets presentation not just here in the main stage (where there are four cameras) but in each of the other tents they are set up to record video and audio. The boom has been quietly but significantly moving about the stage hovering about the poet from different angles (as long as they don't block another camera shot) and this has been going on all the time. No one, until Billy, has acknowledged this.
"Parendel for Susan"
told the story behind this invented poetic form. Crafted the footnote to imply some authenticity but it is all bogus. Had the poem published in a poetry journal, new the editor would appreciate the joke. It was published and then he started getting letters complaining about the parendel, one in particular accusing it of being the worst ever written (it really was the first). Big laugh. Had an extended letter exchange with this person before it was recognized as being bogus. Even worse was a couple of years later, a doctoral candidate from a Southern university was doing a thesis and wanted to do an anthology of parendels and would he do the introduction. She also complained in passing that she was having trouble finding more parendels. They also exchanged quite a few letters before finally they finally talked on the phone and he told her the story. There was a long pause on the other end. "Red Hen Press" did eventually publish an anthology of parendels and he did write the intro.
"poetry an interruption of silence"
music leaves spaces
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